Jan Knibbs at Atelier 19 Cheltenham…
“Your wedding day is the one day in your life when you can be completely unique and indulge your little idiosyncrasies. You may be having a themed wedding or you may just have a strong idea of what you want to wear but be struggling to find it.
I specialise in couture embroidery and embellishment and won the Embroidery category in the British Bridal Awards. I create bespoke dresses with the emphasis on embroidery which are a bit quirky and individual at my little atelier in Cheltenham (Atelier 19) but obviously that comes at a price. A more economical possibility is to find a dress that you love the shape of either old or new and add some embellishment. As I use some of the same embroidery techniques as the top couture houses you can look like you’ve stepped off the page of Vogue at a fraction of the cost.
If you have ordered a dress online and on arrival you find it rather plain and not quite right, it can be embellished and added to to make it more ‘you’. Suzanne, whose wedding was featured here, had already bought a dress but when it arrived it was too short and to be honest a bit ordinary. Suzanne came to me not really knowing what she wanted but said she was going for a Stevie Nicks vibe. I showed her a vintage headdress which she absolutely loved and I offered to make matching 3D ribbon flowers (one of my favourite techniques) to embellish a new sash, shoe buckles for her bright green Doc Martens and an embroidered hoop with her favourite Stevie Nicks lyrics. I also made a petticoat for her to wear under the tunic from a vintage dress to make it the right length.
Another bride came to me with her off the peg dress which was the right shape and fitted her beautifully but was just a bit plain. I embellished the neckline with my signature 3D flowers in the colours she had chosen for her wedding as well as making her a matching floral hairpiece. We also added lace sleeves as she didn’t like her upper arms (and who does?). By adding a bit of colour to the dress not only does it make it unique and individual but it’s also a brilliant way of tapping into the colour trend without committing to an actual single colour dress.
Sometimes brides just want to add an embellished accessory to their outfit and this is also possible. As I don’t limit myself to one product I’m happy to make anything as long as it features embroidery! This can be anything from a hairpiece, neckpiece, sash, veil, bolero or cape right down to embellished shoes. These can all be made bespoke just for you (even the shoes which I can have made by a shoemaker in Spain) or I can embellish old or new existing pieces. As I am also a stylist I like nothing better than styling the whole outfit to make sure your whole outfit matches perfectly.
A great way of customising your outfit is to incorporate some vintage pieces into it. These can either be sourced to co-ordinate or to make it even more personal, can be family heirlooms or pieces given you by a loved one. Maybe your Grandma gave you some pieces of her jewellery and is no longer with you. By using them in your wedding outfit is a lovely way to include her in the festivities. We also stock beautiful tiaras by Gemma Sangwine which are also created with vintage brooches and these can be made bespoke just for you.
You may want to be more ethical and buy a vintage or pre-loved wedding dress, or even be lucky enough to have your own mother’s or grandmother’s dress, but you want to make it even more special and unique to you. Adding embellishment can be the perfect way to do this and at the same time make it more contemporary as well as creating a new heirloom to pass down the generations.
An exciting possibility with adding embellishment is the opportunity to use words. This can take the form of anything from adding your names and date of the wedding to even using a favourite poem, saying or song lyrics either on the actual dress or adorning a veil, jacket or embroidered hoop to carry.
If, like one of my brides this year, you are getting married in a meadow, what better way to match your surroundings than by covering your dress with embroidered flowers that will be growing in the actual meadow so you look as if you’ve walked through and picked them on your way. Whatever your style, be it vintage, contemporary, boho or fairytale, some embroidery or embellishment can make the difference between being ordinary or completely unique.
You don’t have to limit embellishment to your own dress either. By adding some embellished pieces to your bridesmaids dresses not only can you transform an off the peg plain dress into something really special but also give your besties a lovely personalised gift that they will treasure for years to come.”
To find out more about Atelier 19 and their embroidery service you can visit their website HERE